While you are not going to find any natural hot springs around Chengdu, there are some man-made ones that offer refreshing escapes from muggy summer days and warm retreats from bitter winter evenings. The city has a couple of decent hot spring options, but the real gems lie a little further afield at Emei Mountain. Read on for the best hot spring retreats both within and outside Chengdu.
1) Herijun Hot Springs Hotel 何日君温泉酒店 View In Map
Perfectly accessible off the Nijia Qiao stop on The Metro Line 1, Herijun is the most centrally located hot spring establishment in Chengdu, although it is a sort of a bathhouse-hot spring hybrid. But it's the most well-known place within the Third Ring Road to get your “natural” hot springs fix. Recently refurbished, this legit 24 hour joint has several fresh cold pools and well-pressured hot pools, soothingly steamy sauna rooms, and even features an all-you-can-eat buffet. How can you beat that? Their resting recliners in the movie centre are perfect for kicking back and letting your hard-working self take a load off. A trip to the Herijun Hot Springs is almost worth going for these chairs alone.
There is also a children's entertainment area to make visiting convenient for families. Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments are offered and there are recreational sections for mahjong, card games and pool. For a 70 to 100 RMB entry fee, this is an affordable place to relax without having to leave the smoggy city. You can easily spend a whole day here.
Add: 2-8 Nijia Qiao Lu, Renmin Nan Lu, Section 4, Wuhou District Chengdu
Tel: 028 8555 3230
Opening hours: 24 hours
Price: 80 RMB +
2) Chengdu Yufu Hot Springs Hotel 成都鱼凫国都温泉大酒店 View In Map
Despite the outdated furnishings, this is another one of the places that features everything you could want—indoor pool, saunas, a workout facility, KTV, sand volleyball, tennis and more—along with the hot springs. With an added touch of a waterfall flowing over the artificial rocks, this hot springs hotel carries a more nature-oriented design than others around Chengdu, which may have something to do with it being 20 kilometres outside the city centre.
Located in Wenjiang District, bus lines 751 and 762 run out to this hotel, taking less than an hour to get there from within the First Ring Road if the traffic is not bad. It's just less than 90 RMB per person for the buffet, which is recommended because there is not much to eat nearby.
Add: Section 4, Wenquan Da Dao, Wenjiang District, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8278 8888
Opening hours: 9:00-2:00
Price: 118 RMB +
1) Huashuiwan Hot Springs Hotel 花水湾温泉宾馆 View In Map
What makes this popular hot springs outside of Xiling Xueshan stand out from the city ones is the impressive mountain backdrops and wide ranging natural forestry that surround the pools. Needless to say, the air is noticeably less polluted and it's a great place to combine a day of skiing with a night relaxing in the springs.
And the actual quality of the many pools is noticeably better. A big draw of this hot spring resort is that trace amounts of sulfur, salt, iodine, lithium, fluorine and other elements have been sprinkled in to help smoothen your breathing, balance your system, and relieve bodily aches. If none of the medical benefits of hot springs interest you, just take a cigar and enjoy relaxing stint away from the city. Costs usually hover around 160 RMB for admission into the complex (sometimes there are discounts and promotions).
Note that staying at this hotel is usually 450 to 500 RMB at the cheapest. It is possible to do a day trip here though, as this establishment is less than two hours away from Chengdu by bus.
Add: Huashuiwan Wenquan Dujia Xiaozhen, Dayi County, Sichuan (Near Xiling Xueshan)
Tel: 028 8839 0001
Price: 98 RMB +
Getting there: you can take the Dayi County bus to Liushui from Shiyang Bus Station in Chengdu. Once you get to Bayi County, change to a Huashuiwan Township bound bus
2) Emei Mountain Lingxiu Hot Springs 峨眉山灵秀温泉
Hot springs splatter the base of Emei Shan and it's really difficult to select one out of the mix. But the design, ambiance and quality at the enormous Lingxiu Hot Springs are worth noticing. The water, which has also been treated with healthy elements, maintains temperatures of around 67 degrees Celsius in the hot pools and 40 in the cooler ones. There is a large peanut-shaped swimming pool with three small islands as well; it's great for floating around aimlessly.
Although the springs aren't natural, the top to bottom layered design, along with ample plant life and small waterfalls, creates a natural setting. At dusk, the famous mist of Emei Mountain glides over the springs and multi-colored lights turn on to create a stunning visual effect. After a day of hiking the unforgiving stairs of Emei Shan, there's nothing more relaxing than sitting in a hot pool and taking in that sight.
Tickets are 168 RMB, but tend to vary based on season. People tend to flock like mad herds to this spot during summers and holidays. Expect prices to be higher then. It takes two hours from the Xinnanmen Bus Station to get to the mountain and tickets are 17.50 Yuan (as of summer 2012).
Add: Emei Mountain Linxiu Wenquan (Near Baoguo Si)
Tel: 0833 5590 370
Price: 168 RMB (not including hotel accommodation), 600 RMB (including hotel room and two hot spring passes)
Opening hours: 14:00-24:00
Alternatively, if you have enough time on your hands to venture further afield, why not head to China's “hot spring capital” Chongqing? Click here for more info.
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